Investigating the loan application and extortion racket run by a Chinese national, the Chandigarh Police cyber cell has identified his compatriot who they believe supervised the transfer of crores through hawala channels.
Identified as Jeffery Jhu, the Chinese national was involved in money laundering for the syndicate which extorted money from people installing their instant loan apps.
The victims would be compromised once they installed the loan apps on their cellphones, allowing access to their contact lists, camera and photo gallery. The defendant would then blackmail the victims for money after transforming their photos, investigators said.
“Following the arrest of Wan Chengua, we have identified another Chinese national implicated in the fraud, Jeffery Jhu. He had left India for China in 2020 and is managing the financial affairs of the union from there,” said Ketan Bansal, Superintendent of Police (SP), Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, Chandigarh.
“Anshul Kumar, another accused arrested, was Jhu’s main associate in India. They whitened around ₹100 crores in the past two years. We have written to the Law Enforcement Directorate, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Central Bureau of Investigation about this,” the police chief said.
He added, “Chengua is also working under Jhu, who has paid around ₹40 lakh to Anshul, who then handed it over to another defendant Parvej Alam.
Operated from Gurgaon for two years
Investigations revealed that most of those arrested were employees of a Gurgaon-based company, PC Finance, where some Chinese nationals also held senior positions.
“We have identified three people, Peter, Tray and Nicoholson, who have held leadership positions within the company. But the company closed in 2020 and after that they transferred their operations to China, while making Parvej the manager in India,” Bansal said.
₹50 lakh frozen in 20 accounts
Investigators said all transactions for the extorted money were made through UPI, linked to front company bank accounts. A total of 20 of these accounts, holding close to ₹50 lakh, were frozen.
The accused used GB Whatsapp to communicate
It also emerged during the investigation that the defendants were using GB WhatsApp, a modified version of WhatsApp, to communicate with each other.
“The app doesn’t have a delete option and more people can be added to a group,” Bansal said. Likewise, they also used Dingtalk and WeChat apps to maintain secrecy. “The app developers have been contacted for information about their accounts and IP details. We are also working to trace the virtual numbers used by them,” the SP said.
Police also sent a request to Google to remove instant loan apps used in the racketeering. Named Hugo Loan, Coin Cash, AA Loan, AK Loan, Win Credit, the apps are available for free on Google Playstore.
More trouble for Chengua
The custody of the three main defendants in the case – Wan Chengua, Anshul and Parwej Alam – was extended until Monday by a local court on Friday. The other 18 accused were taken into custody.
As Chengua was staying in India on a visa that had expired since 2020, the police also wrote to the Regional Foreigners Registration Officer (FRRO), Delhi, for his visa and travel history.
“His visa was sent to the FRRO. It will also be reserved under Section 14 of the Aliens Act after the FRRO report,” Bansal said. If convicted under the law, Chengua faces up to five years in prison and a fine.
Besides Chengua, Parwej and Anshul, among the 21 people arrested so far are 13 agents/callers and five managers/team leaders, who have been specially hired and trained to call victims and coerce, blackmail and threatening them with depositing money again and again. .
Their arrest came last week following a 10-day operation covering five states including Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh. They face separate cases under sections 384, 419, 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.
₹75,000 prizes for the cybercell team
Chandigarh DGP Parveer Ranjan met SP Ketan Bansal and DSP (Cyber) Venkatesh on Friday and appreciated their efforts to break the racket.
He also awarded the entire investigation team a cash reward of ₹75,000 and first class certificate for good work.
The investigation team includes Cyber Crime Police Station Inspector SHO Ranjit Singh, Sub Inspector (SI) KD Singh, SI Parminder Singh, Assistant Sub Inspector Balwan Singh, Chief Constables Rajender Singh, Bahadur Lal, Balwinder Singh, Sunit, Rampal, Gurmeet Singh and Vikas Bastara, Senior Constable Sachin, and Constables Pramjeet, Vikas Dahiya, Sonit, Baljeet, Sarvind, Veer Davinder, Ashok, Dinesh, Ombir, Manpreet, Kavita.